On the way to Dockers Waterside from Dan’s Papers Southampton offices, our party of two got stuck in traffic behind an accident near the college. My husband and I do not carry cell phones so we couldn’t call ahead. When we finally reached Dockers for our first meal there, we were greeted by a spectacular view of verdant marshland—a picture-perfect landscape of sea and sky. I grabbed my camera and discovered it was broken.
We were seated at a table on the main deck and very soon our server Nicole made everything better by bringing me a Blood Orange Margarita. She’d rightly recommended this mix of Milagro Silver Tequila, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Aranciata Rossa Sparkling Blood Orange and agave. That salt along the rim was just what I needed!
Husband enjoyed a glass of Montauk Brewing Company’s Summer Ale as we perused the menus. Dockers offers a select group of local wines from Palmer, Paumanok, Sparkling Pointe and Wölffer. A sort of “Long Island Wine Country Greatest Hits.”
I was told after our evening at Dockers that they were understaffed that night. We had no idea. This very large operation seems to run like one tight ship. The service was friendly and fast, but not rushed. And the staff is in contention for best-looking wait staff. (I observed this before I started drinking.)
In addition to loads of surf and turf, the menu promotes Dockers shirts and hoodies—so you can fit right in. I noted that white jeans seemed to be de riguer for staff and deck diners alike. The patrons along the main bar were more inclined toward khakis.
I knew I was supposed to order a big, steamy lobster to get the full experience of the place but I was only sorta in a lobster mood—so I ordered the Lobster Bisque to start and I was glad that I did: it was creamy smoothness with bites of succulent lobster, garnished with chopped scallion greens. The diminutive popover served alongside the soup bowl was perfect for this large customer—I snapped it in half and filled the halves with delish bisque! Husband was quite pleased with his sizeable appetizer of Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs.
I was in the mood for big, luscious sea scallops over couscous pearls in au jus with leeks and blackened asparagus—so the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops entrée really hit the spot. That underlying bacon-y flavor was to die for! I might order this every time I visit Dockers. I said aloud, “Whenever I’m impressed, it’s always a pleasant surprise.”
Husband ordered the Day Boat Catch. On that evening it was Pan-Seared Striped Bass prepared very simply and served over potato gnocchi and topped with colorful micro greens.
Did we have room for dessert? Yes, slash, no. We settled on sharing a Death by Lemon, though a nearby couple sharing a Huge Chocolate Cake made that dish look quite appealing. Our dessert turned out to be a sort of deconstruction, or restructuring, of a lemon meringue pie—it was a small meringue tart and scoops of lemon sorbet sporting rings of lemon peel. We killed, annihilated and clobbered it. Husband commented, “I like it better than lemon meringue pie because it’s refreshing.”
The whole experience of Dockers Waterside is refreshing. It’s only natural that it has become a popular institution. We visited on a busy Thursday night to enjoy the atmosphere of the setting, the food, the staff, the lively conversation and live music. What more could you ask for?
Dockers Waterside Marina & Restaurant is located at 94 Dune Road in East Quogue. Call 631-653-0653 or visit dockerswaterside.com.